Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers
Categories: Active Physical Play

 

Surfin' Elmo Rocker
(Little Tikes $29.99 Score:) Fans of Elmo may enjoy taking a ride on Elmo’s back. Elmo also giggles and talks, but you can turn that feature off (thankfully). Some testers had trouble getting on and off by themselves. Difficult to put together. 1 & up. (800) 321-0183. Note: Low-to-the-ground rockers for toddlers are used for a short time, but match the young toddler’s love of motion and repetitive action. These are low enough to the ground so that the older toddler can get on and off with independence, and they’re slow enough to be soothing. Often promoted for older infants and young toddlers, these are a better choice for toddlers who are steady on their feet. (This was especially true this year where several of our contenders made the rounds with our testers—much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears . . . some testers found the rockers too small [and boring] and others found them too high. So our recommendation is to try before you buy).

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Walker to Wagon
(Fisher-Price $24.99 Score:) A step past the cruising stage, toddlers often like to hold on to some thing as they become independent walkers. This is not a weighted wagon, so it is not for tots who are still unsteady on their feet. It has some spinning beads, a clicking dial, and other activity toys to manipulate, including a shape sorter, for sit-down fun. This colorful get-about toy converts to a pull wagon, but will probably have the most use as a pusher. They say 9 months, we'd say more like 12-16 months & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Sand and Sea Play Table
(Little Tikes $79.99 Score:) Cleverly designed for separate sand and water play, this is nevertheless, likely to lead to some muddy exploration. These two tables are side by side and ideal for digging, spilling and messing around. This comes equipped with an umbrella, sand and water wheels, tools, boats and bridge. It comes with lids to protect the sand (which is not included) from the elements. 2-6 The company has signed a verification form that this product contains no lead or phthalates.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse
(Step 2 $129.99 Score:) Low to the ground, this climber and slide allows for the repetitive fun of climbing up and sliding down-again and again! Although this will be outgrown, it is the right size for toddlers who are steady on their feet. It has protective siding on the platform, something that taller slides often lack. That said, this will still need adult supervision and protective padding under it. They say 18 months, we’d say more like 2 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2009 Award
Step2 Neighborhood Fun Center
(Step 2 $279.99 Score:)

We really liked the concept of this playhouse that combines active play with a setting for pretend. One side has a slide just right for steady on their feet toddlers and preschoolers. Another side has an activity wall- complete with a ring toss, crawl through door and hoop/loop ball target (comes with balls for tossing). The third side has a place for real or pretend snacks (there's a small table and two attached seats). The fourth side has a door and pass through window. If you don't have room for both a playhouse and a slide--this certainly will fill the bill.

The company has submitted our safety verification form. Note, we did not test this independently in a lab.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Step 2 Fun Flow Sink
(Step 2 $49.99 Score:) The first review we got on this product was glowing! Our 2 and 3 year old testers loved the pump feature and pleasure of turning the water on and off. Our parent noted that the funnels and cups that came with the sink were just the right size for the kids to use and enjoy. The reservations at first were about the fact that the sink did not have a drain hole- making cleaning the sink a bit complicated. The assembly of the housing around the pump and batteries got low marks from this parent as well (an architect) but her child loved the table so much that she was willing to forgive the design flaws. A week later, we got a follow up review which told a very different story. The on-off button on the pump jammed after after a few days and the water leaks between the layers-- her concern is possible mildew. So as much as we think the concept of the toy is fantastic, it does need some tweaking to be a full fledged winner. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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2008 Awards
Little Tikes 6 in 1 Town Center Playhouse
(Little Tikes $399.99 Score:)

One of our preschool testers thought this was absolutely perfect-- they had thought of everything but a porta potty! (His dad's an architect). What's really innovative about this playcenter is that it literally opens all the way up to reveal many different pretend settings. There is a cafe (with a chalkboard for specials, a bistro table, two chairs, and a sink), a gas station (here you can make the price as low as you want!), a town center with a retail store, and a sports center (complete with a basketball hoop, soccer net, and a place for toss games. Center is wheelchair accessible. Note: The only negative we heard back on this product is that it took over two hours to put together. If you're not particularly handy- this may be a problem. As with all of these plastic playsets, we pass on the recommendation we received years ago from Little Tikes to use liquid soap. It sometimes makes the pieces go together faster!

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Schylling Color Roller
(Schylling $19.99 Score:)

Finding a great toddler toy can be really tough going- they're done with baby toys and not quite ready for more complicated preschool toys (they tend to sit on them!). So we're really always excited when we find a great new toy right on the mark for this age group. This color roller has a big color wheel built into the enclosed base. At rest, you can see blue, yellow and red...but start pushing and those colors combine to create the colors of the rainbow. Very neat. One parent found the clicky noise annoying, but other testers really thought it was fun. We loved the elegance of the design. No batteries required.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP AWARD:Holding on while letting go is not so simple for kids who are just getting up and about on their wobbly feet. Letting go of your hand or the furniture can be encouraged with this kind of push toy that makes sounds and spinning colors.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Haba Discovery Wagon
(Haba $230 Score:)

Beautifully designed for the get-about-toddler, this smooth handsome (pricey) wooden cart is less tippy than most push toys for beginners. There’s a seat in the front for Teddy Bears to ride on, a mirror and gem stones set into the back of the seat. There are spinners and a maze to move a little toy car about, as well as a fabric side pocket for storing a small grey fabric mouse passenger. Finished in natural wood and colorful panels, this is a toy that will go the distance. For toddlers there are few toys that get as much use as this sort of combo cart. Just right for that stage when kids are ready to walk but still like the security of holding on. This is weighted and the center of gravity is solid enough, even for tots who are just getting their land legs. This age varies, so you need to know the individual child. Some are ready at 12 months—more are not ready till 14-16 months.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Tonka Scoot N Scoop 3 in 1 Ride On
(Hasbro $39.99 Score:)

Here's a "convertible" that switches from a push toy for the littlest ones to a first ride-on for toddlers. It has a magic picker upper that scoops up plastic blocks that also fit in a shape sorter seat. Our tester really enjoyed this aspect of the toy--he could make the blocks "disappear". Has a "revving wheel" with a horn, clicking direction signals, and child-pleasing motor sounds. Best of all they can take the wheel off and play with it off the truck. Our tester loves taking the wheel off and into his parents car so he can help drive. He also takes his cat and stuff animals for rides. Our parent tester loved this toy along with the new companion Tonak Li'l Gas Pump (sold separately for $19.99).

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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